PRESERVING GRACE BEFORE REGENERATION
THE ELECT CANNOT DIE UNTIL GOD HAS BROUGHT ABOUT A VITAL UNION WITH CHRIST!
“To those who have been CALLED, who are LOVED by God the Father and PRESERVED in Jesus Christ.” [Jude 1]
What a mercy it is for God’s people that before they have a ‘vital union’ with Christ—before they are grafted into Him experimentally—they have an ‘eternal, immanent union’ with Him before all worlds.
It is by virtue of this eternal union that they come into the world . . . at such a time, at such a place, from such parents, under such circumstances, as God has appointed.
It is by virtue of this eternal union that the circumstances of their lives are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union they ARE PRESERVED IN CHRIST BEFORE THEY ARE EFFECTUALLY CALLED.
THEY CANNOT DIE UNTIL GOD HAS BROUGHT ABOUT A VITAL UNION WITH CHRIST!
Whatever SICKNESS they may pass through—whatever INJURIES they may be exposed to—whatever PERILS assault them on sea or land — DIE THEY WILL NOT, DIE THEY CANNOT; until God’s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of His love.
Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood, watched over them until the appointed time and spot, when “the God of all grace,” according to His eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory. THEY WILL NEVER PERISH!
“For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for His children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay! AND GOD, IN HIS MIGHTY POWER, WILL PROTECT YOU UNTIL YOU RECEIVE THIS SALVATION.” 1 Peter 1:4-5
The elect are preserved in Christ, BEFORE they are called by grace. THEY ARE KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD FROM PERISHING IN THEIR UNREGENERACY.
Have not you been almost miraculously PRESERVED in the midst of dangers, and escaped when others perished by your side–or been raised up as it were, from the very brink of destruction and the very borders of the grave?
Besides some striking escapes from what are called ‘accidents’, three times in my life–once in infancy, once in boyhood, and once in manhood, I have been raised up from the borders of the grave, when almost everyone who surrounded my bed thought I would not survive the violence of the attack.
Were not these instances of being kept by the power of God? I COULD NOT DIE UNTIL GOD HAD MANIFESTED HIS PURPOSES OF ELECTING GRACE AND MERCY TO MY SOUL.
But the elect are also kept by the mighty power of God AFTER they are called by grace; for they are in the hollow of His hand, and are kept as the apple of His eye.
I will not say they are kept from ALL sins. Yet I will say that they are kept from DAMNING sins. They are kept especially from three things . . . from the dominion of SIN, from daring and final PRESUMPTION, from lasting and damnable ERROR.
They are never drowned in the sins and evils of the present life so as to be swallowed up in them–for IT IS IMPOSSIBLE THAT THEY CAN EVER BE LOST!
They are therefore preserved in hours of temptation, for they are guarded by all the power of Omnipotence, shielded by the unceasing care and watchfulness of Him who can neither slumber nor sleep.
Looking back through a long vista of years, can YOU not see how the hand of God has been with you–how He has held you up, and brought you through many a storm, and preserved you under powerful temptations? How gently He sometimes drew you on, or sometimes kept you back?
“I give them eternal life, and THEY WILL NEVER PERISH! No one can snatch them out of My hand!” John 10:28
Having CHOSEN us, God BEGETS us with His word, REGENERATES us by a divine influence, and makes us NEW CREATURES by the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.